Just Charlie G
29. 12. 2015

Hello!

I thought it was time I checked in and said hello to you all as Christmas has kept me rather busy this year.

I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to a great New Year.

Christmas for us has been up and down, there have been wonderful presents, for myself and the rest of my family, as well as wonderful local food, but the excitement has proved too much for the kids and Chloe has had a couple of anxiety attacks, one of which resulted in the both of us having to leave the other two in a theatre to watch a panto without us, but overall, it hasn’t been too bad.

I treated myself to the most amazing pair of boots just before Christmas, Dr Martens Aimilita’s. They do up with ribbons, who could resist.

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Having been searching for new boots for some time these are just my ideal boot. I also had a suede pair for Christmas, knee highs with tassels so I’m fully booted up for 2016!

I especially loved my Christmas manicure this year, I used Sensationail shades Light Em Up (the glitter) and Red, Red Wine. I’m so impressed with Sensationail, my collection just keeps growing and growing!

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My other news, and I apologise if you follow me on Instagram or are friends with me on Facebook (because you’re probably sick of hearing about it already) is that I’ve taken up crochet. I had a wish to give it a go, taught myself a few basic stitches, made a few granny squares and am now working on a blanket, its incredibly soothing to do, and I’m so impressed with myself, and I don’t get to say that very often. It’s going to be single bed size when its finished so I’ve got lots to do yet. I think I’ll do a separate post about it soon, but for now, here’s a sneak at what I’m working on. It’s far from perfect, a few rows are back to front, but I’m on top of that now.

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So this is really just a quick check in from me to say hi and wish everyone well, and I’ll be back soon with Mac Ellie Goulding reviews, Clarins Spring reviews, my crochet post and much more.

Hope Christmas was wonderful and in case I’m not back beforehand, Happy New Year!

Sub-heading: Dinovember and Expensive Advent Calenders can also sod off.

I’m going to preface this blog post with this picture…

4_1024x1024Looking at this creepy little fella gives me the heebie jeebies…imagine that watching your every move for the whole of December. I could just stop the post there because, y’know, nuff said. But why deprive myself of a much needed rant?

Elf On a Shelf. So for those who don’t know, Elf on a Shelf is concept to get your children to behave well over December, by putting this Elf around your house so he can watch what your kids are up to and report back to Santa, so that Santa can can get his Naughty and Nice lists ready.

Now leaving aside the fact that I threatened my kids with a lump of coal one particularly stressful December, this is a little creepy no? Not only does it look creepy with its Mona Lisa eyes that follow you around the room, but its sole purpose, spying, is creepy too. I also don’t want my kids to be good in December just because of an elf. I want them to be good all year please.

Then, there’s the issue of adding this new commercial tradition to our lives. Wasn’t Christmas traditional enough without this hideous new one? (See Also Advent Calenders Rant further down the Page).  And isn’t Christmas magical enough without this new piece of tat? It certainly was commercial enough.

And somehow, this Elf, oh how his behaviour has evolved. No, he doesn’t just sit on the shelf. No, in order for your kids to believe in the magic, he or she has to move each night while the kids are in bed. So the kids believe he’s real and alive and that he’s been to the North Pole to report back and then come back to your house! But this is where things escalate. While ‘lesser’ parents may just move the Elf from one shelf to the mantle piece, there are those who put a huge amount of effort in creating elaborate scenes to amaze and shock their children with when they get up in the morning. And for those too stupid (heavy sarcasm) to have their own ideas Pinterest is FULL of ideas you can copy. And the thing is, you have to do this every day. If you do something amazing on December the 1st, every day better be amazing and don’t even think about forgetting. Competitive and creative Mummies of course rise to the challenge, while the rest either don’t care or feel inadequate. And a lot of the ideas I’ve seen involve the Elf doing something a bit naughty or cheeky, like tipping something over…remind me what the point of the Elf is again? To encourage good behaviour (blurgh)…. I must give a special mention to those who have their elves doing rude or adult things because that is genuinely funny, and the sole reason I can see for having it. I particularly loved the Elf snorting a line of Cocoa powder and the various pictures of Elf caught in compromising positions with naked Barbies.

It’s a commercial venture, trying to create a new tradition…which makes them money, and its working. There’s the Elf, the book, the dvd and lo and behold, now there’s the Birthday Elf so you can blackmail your kids twice a year, what fun! It doesn’t even make sense. Santa’s Elves don’t give a crap what kids get up to in the month before they birthday. Fact.

And while this post is tongue in cheek, and I don’t really care what you do with your family in the run up to Christmas, there is the issue of your kids asking why they don’t have an Elf if their friends have one in their house, and how will Santa really know if they’ve been good. Frankly, I’ll tell them its just a toy and not to be sad. I’m not going to think up my own elaborate lies as to why the Elf is in their friends house, but not ours.

Christmas is already exciting, the build up in our house is ridiculous, advent calendars, Christmas Jumper days for charity and parties and discos at all their after school clubs and in school, along with a natural excitement mean that for me…in our house, its all quite exciting enough without causing me extra stress (trying to remember to move the damn thing, never mind constructing elaborate scenes with them). So you can stick your Elf on a Shelf “tradition” thanks.

Which leads me onto Dinovember…. a whole month devoted to your kids toy dinosaurs coming to life and getting up to mischief… see previously mentioned pinterest, competitive mummies, feelings of inadequacy and a general feeling of just why. Meh. Oh and the dinosaurs, pretty destructive. The idea is to feed your kids imagination and create a sense of wonder, I get that, and I’m sure that those things are true…but you know… the magic is all uploaded daily to Facebook, where the kids can’t see but all the other parents can go “wow you’re so amazing doing that and I’m so inadequate”. Again, its tongue in cheek and I don’t really care what you want to devote your evenings to, but once my kids are in bed, I’m thinking pyjamas, crap tv, slobbing out on the sofa, not arranging five dinosaurs around a destroyed loaf of bread and uploading it to Facebook. Personally, I think I’m living the after 8pm dream and as for feeding my kids imagination and giving them a sense of wonder, that’s what Minecraft is for no?

Finally… expensive advent calendars. For adults this is a yes from me. I haven’t got one, but I wish I did 🙁 But honestly. I remember my advent calendars as a child, they didn’t even have chocolate in them! You just opened them and all there was, was a poxy picture! But you know what, it was magic and it was wondrous because we were counting down to a huge event. I don’t mind the chocolate ones if I’m honest, and I don’t even mind the Lego or Playmobile ones really… they are just so unnecessary. I can’t even imagine presenting my kids with an Advent Calendar that didn’t have chocolate in it… because somewhere along the way, the point has been lost, its not a countdown to Christmas, its chocolate every single day in December!

I LOVE Christmas, I love that we don’t have long to wait, my kids are already excited, and it is undoubtedly magical. You couldn’t accuse me of being a Grinch in any way, but I really do hate that damn Elf.

Note: I honestly don’t care what y’all do in your family at Christmas, this entire post has been written with tongue firmly in cheek. Much love to you all, no matter how you celebrate, and Merry Christmas (it’s really still too far early for that particular greeting, but that’s another blog post entirely….)

24. 12. 2012

Wishing all my readers a very Happy Christmas indeed. I do hope you get all you wish for and you are all happy and well.

I shall be taking a few days off and sitting around my tree and being with my friends and family.

See you all very soon!

Much love. x

18. 12. 2012

When I did my Christmas Gifts post yesterday I knew I’d forgotten something. Of course about ten minutes after I posted the article I remembered what they were and I’m not sure how I could have forgotten because these items are both wonderful and one in particular hits my fave products immediately!

Lush do Christmas very well, with a wealth of fabulous gift options and single items. Bubble bars, ballistics and lip scrubs and so on and so forth.

I’ve already blogged about the wonderful Twilight Shower Gel which I thought was a Halloween product but is listed under their Christmas items on their website… and then there’s the famous Snow Fairy Shower Gel which I’m surprised I’ve not blogged about, it’s the love it or hate it Calpol shower gel. Personally I love it. But this year there’s a new addition. Ponche.

Lush Ponche

Ponche is inspired by Mexican Christmas Punch. It’s fruity and glorious. Lots of orange juice, plum and cinnamon infusions, tequila and you’ve got a perfect shower gel for the morning after that Christmas Party.  100g will set you back £4.25, 250g will cost you £8.50 and 250g will cost you £14.95.

The other thing I wanted to show you is my new favourite thing ever. Buche de Noel. A face cleanser.

Lush Buche de Noel

 

Lush Buche de Noel

It looks and smells edible but I don’t advise it. Take a pinch, rub it between your hands with a bit of warm water to make a paste, rub it all over your face and wash away. Welcome to the softest face ever. This contains glorious Christmas ingredients to nourish your skin, there’s almonds, satsumas, cranberries, a bit of brandy… it smells well… LUSH. IT’s £5.95 for 100g and a little goes a long way. Only gripes are that it can a) be a bit messy and b) is Christmas only! Why?!!!! This is so so lovely. It cleanses, balances, moisturises and exfoliates… what more can you ask for? Go grab some quick before it’s gone!

*Disclosure – PR Samples*

If you’ve got a couple of beauty lovers left to buy for, I might have just the things for you. I was going to do two separate posts for these but since we’re now getting so close to Christmas I thought I’d better hurry things along and do them both in the one post.

Firstly we have this amazing brush kit. The Dream Team from bareMinerals. £39

The Dream Team from bareMinerals

Before I go on too much about this I should tell you I can’t find this in stock anywhere online but I think it’s well worth checking a bareMinerals counter near you as this is a brush kit well worth having.

The Dream Team from bareMinerals

The Dream Team from bareMinerals
I took mine away with me to a Christmas party and overnight stay at the week and the brushes were fabulous. Actually, despite not using much in the way of bareMinerals make up, I have quite a few brushes in my collection, all of which I use a lot, they are great quality. This kit contains two eye shadow brushes, a face or foundation brush, a blusher brush and an eye shadow brush, all perform exceptionally well. If you can find it, grab it (for yourself!).

The second gift I want to show you is The Best of  L’Occitane Collection.

The Best of  L'Occitane Collection

The Best of  L'Occitane Collection
Not only is this beautiful to look at but it’s full of beautiful products. And not just that it’s currently got a whopping £33 pounds off taking it from a hefty £93 to a much more affordable £60. It contains 250ml Almond Shower Oil, 250ml Cherry Blossom Shower Gel, 100ml Almond Milk Concentrate, 100ml Lavender Foaming Bath, 75ml Shea Butter Hand Cream, 30ml Shea Butter Foot Cream and 20ml Verbena Eau de Toilette. The contents are worth £84.50 so this is currently a great deal. You are essentially getting a couple of products free. Brilliant. You can get it here and you don’t even have to gift wrap it!

*Disclosure – PR Samples*

I don’t recommend you buy these as a gift (although they would make a good gift) I recommend you buy these for yourself. Treat yourself this Christmas to a little bit of glorious self indulgence.

Just look at these beauties.

Estee Lauder Christmas Crackers

These babies will set you back £45 for a box of six but each cracker contains not one, but two Estee Lauder treats, there are cleansers, eye creams, face creams, make up, fragrance and of course Advance Night Repair. I think we can all assume that these aren’t full size products.

If you don’t mind surprises being ruined here’s a list of the contents. You’ll need to click the picture to enlarge it.

Estee Lauder Christmas Crackers

These crackers are exclusive to Selfridges and Brown Thomas now.

Of course there is a problem with these. It takes two to pull a cracker of course and I am not prepared to share. I repeat, I am not prepared to share. So I am going to get my kids to pull them with me then steal the contents from them should they win. All’s fair in love and Beauty.

*Disclosure – PR Sample*

Really can’t knock anything from Melvita, ethical, deliciously scented and pure quality.

Got just a few lovely bits to show you today.

Firstly they have some beautiful gift sets for Christmas in a good range of prices but I’m loving the Apicosma Discovery Set. The packaging is beautiful.

 

This lovely set is £15 and contains the Body Milk, Lip Balm and Hand Cream. The Apicosma products are all honey based, smell divine and are really nourishing.

The other things I wanted to show you is the Yellow Fruits Duo. £19.50 on special offer at the time of writing.

The yellow fruits in question are Apple, Quince and Hazelnut which makes for a deliciously fruity and different scent. I’ve been loving using these though! There’s a shower scrub (perfect amount of scrub for a product that you use as a shower gel rather than just an exfoliator) and a beautiful body milk which moisturises well and leaves the scent on your skin all day. I’ve also been using the Berry Body Milk which is equally divine.

If you’ve not yet tried out Melvita, get to it, it’s a wonderful, underrated brand and one I would recommend to anyone.

*Disclosure – PR Samples*

There are a couple of lovely offerings from Nails Inc this Christmas.

Loving this little set called The Stylists.

Nails Inc Christmas Gifts

A selection of mini glitters and shimmers perfect for the party season, this set is £15, seems to have sold out in lots of places but have found it at a sale price of £12.75 on the Debenhams website.

The most fabulous set is this one though, The Paparazzi.

Nails Inc Christmas Gifts

I can’t think there are many people who wouldn’t love this. Neons, Nudes, shimmers and glitters, there’s something for everyone and I’ve had great fun playing with these. These are all minis and the set retails at £39.50.

Nails Inc Christmas Gifts

 

Nails Inc Christmas Gifts

There are other gorgeous Christmas gifts available at the Nails.Inc Christmas Shop, so do take a look.

Not technically a gift but I wanted to mention this here as well as it’s my new hand love. The Kensington Caviar Hand Lotion. £15.

Nails Inc Christmas Gifts

I use this on my hands every night and pure Argan Oil on my cuticles and my hands are transformed. I cannot praise this highly. I must say that one of the things i love about this is the scent, it reminds me of something in my past and makes me very nostalgic but so far I’ve been completely unable to recall what it reminds me off, all I know is that it’s nice!

Take a look at the latest offerings from Nails Inc. Lovely stuff.

*Disclosure – PR Samples*

Today is a very exciting day. Yes it’s the first day of December which can mean only one thing. Advent calendars! This year there are three in this house, Moshi Monsters for Chloe, Peppa Pig for Lola and this beauty for Mummy!

Liz Earle Advent Calendar

I present the 24 Days of Christmas with Liz Earle. 24 windows, with 24 decent samples behind each door. Of course, this means that the calendar is rather large and heavy. No bad thing by my reckoning!

Liz Earle Advent Calendar

This post is written and scheduled in advance so as it stands at the time of writing I refuse to open any of the doors and show you the contents. If you don’t mind surprises though, here’s a full list of the contents, which you can enlarge to read, should you wish!

Liz Earle Advent Calendar

A perfect gift for the hardcore Liz Earle fan, and something really very special. Which is good because this baby will set you back £100. But there’s a lot of product there and it’s much much much nicer than cheap chocolate.

In stock and available now from Liz Earle along with all the other lovely Christmas gifts for this year.

*Disclosure – PR Sample*

So Christmas will very soon be upon us and it can be hard to know what to buy for the beauty lovers in our lives at times. Those friends, sisters, Mums, Aunts, colleagues can all be hard to buy for but a make up set is always a success. So when there are so many products out there offering similar things it can be hard to know where to start.

I’m going to compare a couple of similar products, which retail at the same price (£30) and help you decide where your money would be better spent.

Two products I chose look completely different but both offer similar things, a selection of cheek and eye colours and a mascara.

Behold the Too Faced Little Black Book of Beauty and the Stila Snow Angel Palette.

Too Faced Little Black Book of Beauty and the Stila Snow Angel Palette

I’ll talk about both sets separately before doing a comparison at the end. Starting with the Stila Snow Angel Palette.

Stila Snow Angel Palette

 

Stila Snow Angel Palette

Undoubtedly a VERY pretty looking palette This contains 12 cheek colours, 18 eye shadows, a black mascara and a handy little booklet with some suggested ways of using the product.

Swatches of the cheek shades:

Stila Snow Angel Palette

Swatches of all the eye shades:

Stila Snow Angel Palette

I didn’t enjoy the mascara, for me it did very little to my lashes. As for the eyeshadows, I found the majority of the shades to be very pale or sheer, with just a few deeper shades to add contrast BUT, all the shadows can be used wet or dry for maximum impact which is a plus. The black eyeshadow is worthy of a special mention for just being so fabulously black. The cheek colours are lovely and there is something there for everyone from baby pink to bright red. All in all I’d recommend this set for someone who like neutral shades and a less dramatic eye look. There are so many shadows and blushers and I think nearly all would suit most people.

Then we have a closer look at the Too Faced Little Black Book of Beauty:

Too Faced Little Black Book of Beauty

 

Too Faced Little Black Book of Beauty

 

Too Faced Little Black Book of Beauty

In this palette we have less shades to choose from. There are two blushers, a highlighter, a pale bronzer, twelve eyeshadows, a mascara and the addition of a mirror under which you can find a pale neutral pinky lip gloss.

Swatches of the cheek shades and lip gloss:

Too Faced Little Black Book of Beauty

The Eyeshadows:

Too Faced Little Black Book of Beauty

The quality of the products in this set are very high. The mascara is fabulous, the cheek colours are pigmented but highly blendable and the eyeshadow shades all pack a punch. The three palest shades don’t show up so well in swatches as the are close to the colour of my skin, but regardless they are apparent in the flesh and of course, useful. The eyeshadow shades are really beautiful also, with a couple of really stand out shades (the right two on the middle row). They also wear exceptionally well. They are however not especially subtle, and most of the shades create quite a striking look.

So there we have it, so to compare. I think I’ve been unable to hide the fact that I’ve a clear favourite. The Too Faced one offers, in my opinion so much more, despite having far less colours to choose from. The quality seems so much better, in that what you see in the pan, is what you get on your eyelid. I found the black eyeshadow a little disappointing in this one, whereas in the Stila Snow Angel set the black is outstanding.

What this really boils down to for me is quality over quantity and even the case for the Too Faced set is much sturdier than than the Stila one, which does seem a little flimsy. So if you’re looking to spend £30 on a cosmetic gift for a loved one this Christmas, the Too Faced Little Black Book of Beauty definitely gets my vote, and is the one I’d be the most happy to receive.

There is a caveat though and that at the end of the day this does come down to taste and if the person you are buying for favours a more natural or subtle look then the Stila is a very beautiful gift indeed, the quality isn’t bad, it’s just not in the same league as the Too Faced palette.

So there we have it.

If you are looking for quality and deep colours then go for the Too Faced Little Black Book of Beauty.
If you are looking for lots of choice, with a good range of sheers, neutrals and blushers then go for the Stila Snow Angel Palette.

I purchased both of these from http://www.beautybay.com/. The Stila Palette was £29.50 and the Too Faced Set was £30.

*This post has been written for www.Vouchercodes.co.uk, who provided the funds to purchase the gifts.*
*You can be in with a chance of winning one of these or any of the other beauty gifts chosen by bloggers by re-pinning any of the images you will be able to find HERE, at the time of writing, they are not yet up though so keep your eyes peeled*